Before Nani-Girl went blind with SARDS we went for long walks around the neighborhood. She explored with curiosity like most dogs. She was much more stubborn and would try to set the pace of our walk and would stop and sniff when she wanted to, not when I let her.
Now her walk consists of going to the end of the cul-de-sac and then back home. Not much exercise at all. Yesterday I decided I’ll bring her on a walk with Sky, all the way out to the sidewalk.
|Ready for a walk?|
|Sky with her back pack on-there are two soda cans, one in each pocket.|
Per Ceasar Milan‘s suggestion in the Dog Whisperer I bought Sky a backpack two years ago to help slow her down on our walk. She is a Siberian Husky/Malamute and she pulls hard sometimes-but it’s her nature.
Nani-Girl (pre-SARDS) walked beautifully but she pees a lot (like a male dog-but I promise you she’s female). But her pace is slow, like mine!
For Sky, the backpack was the best investment ever! I put a soda can or water bottle in each pocket (there are two) to give it some weight. Whenever Josh and I took Sky hiking at Makapu’u Lighthouse, we would pack her with water and made her work all the way to the top. Sky is a working dog and when I put on the backpack her demeanor changes. She’s less excitable, more focused on the walk and she slows down and I can keep up with her. If you have a working dog, get them a backpack and make them work! You should see Sky’s face after her walk-she’s so happy and then she waits for praise. Trust me, Josh and I praise her…a lot. 🙂
Yesterday on our walk, Sky was a bit anxious because Nani-Girl was coming with us-she probably felt my anxiety. All I want is for Nani-Girl to trust me and know that wherever I lead her, she will be safe. I admit, I pushed her too hard yesterday. She was excited though, to walk past the cul-de-sac, past the houses and out to the front sidewalk. But when we got near the intersection, it was a whole different story.
|Sidewalk outside of Tides.|
It was a cloudy day, windy too, but there was no other dogs in sight, which was good, because all I needed was Sky to get excited and Nani-Girl to get very scared. That would be a disaster. The walk was slow, which frustrated Sky because she knows we usually go at a brisk walking pace. With Nani-Girl in tow, it was a snail’s pace. I call out her name all the time so she knows I’m near and still there. You would think me tugging on the leash would signal to her that we are still there with her. But it doesn’t seem to matter-she freezes.
The streets around our neighborhood is not busy, but when we came to the intersection where the traffic lights are, there was about five cars and a large truck (there are large trucks because it’s a construction area-lots of houses being built). When we turned the corner and she heard the rumble of the loud truck, she froze in her tracks and started barking. Also, the airplanes fly over head, really low to land at Honolulu International Airport, and she gets scared of that too. Even worse when the fighter jets fly over us-it’s so loud. I can’t imagine what she thinks is headed towards her.
|A plane above us!|
Our way back home took even longer and it didn’t give Sky her needed exercise. Nani mostly froze in spots so I picked her up and carried her home. She felt safer at home, I noticed that now, so as long as she’s walking near the house I think she’ll be fine. Nani can explore our yard, our cul-de-sac and do her business and she will be fine!
Now, Josh and I still want to take her with us to places and expose her to smells, sounds and tastes. And hey, I’ve seen lots of people do this at the mall or at outdoor events around Hawaii. I am seriously thinking of getting her a stroller!
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=ylacar&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B0033A83DA&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrI always used to see these people and their dogs in strollers and thought-oh my goodness, why would they do that to their dog? Dogs need to walk! Now I’m eating my words! 🙂
I still believe my dogs need their daily exercise and I have the time to give it to them, which is fantastic. But I want to be able to take both dogs and if Nani-Girl can’t keep going I can put her in the stroller and still push her and walk Sky the long distances she likes to walk.
Josh thinks it’s a good idea, but we’ll see! I’m still debating it in my head.
As for Sky, she gets a 1.5 mile run with Josh every other day. Thank you Josh! It helps them bond, she gets to run because he runs (I don’t run-I have no stamina and I do not enjoy it) and she’s a happier dog because of all the exercise we’re giving her.
I am determined to help Nani-Girl with her blindness and to help her find happiness again-we want her to trust us. So I think I’ll be buying another book on Josh’s Kindle, thanks Josh again..lol..did I ever say on my blog how amazing he is? Josh is amazing-it’s why I’m marrying him in 4 months 🙂
Stay tuned as I try and implement techniques I read in the book Living With Blind Dogs: A Resource Book and Training for the Owners of Blind and Low-Vision Dogs, by Caroline D. Levin. I’ll share my success and failures on here…but please wish me luck, I really want Nani to enjoy the rest of her life, however long it may be 🙂